For fans of What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell and The Futures by Anna Pitoniak, a soul-piercing debut that explores the ways that past and present intertwine, queerness and coming of age in uncertain times.
In WILLA & HESPER, two young women fall in love. When they fall apart, they unwittingly take the same path to heal from their breakup, seeking answers in the lands of their ancestors. From Tbilisi, Georgia to the war sites of Germany, they discover what can break and what can mend when you look to the past to understand your present.
Willa's darkness enters Hesper's light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces and Hesper shuts her out. She runs, following her fractured family back to her grandfather's hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, looking for the origin story that he is no longer able to tell. But once in Tbilisi, cracks appear in her grandfather's history-and a massive flood is heading toward Georgia, threatening any hope for repair.
Meanwhile, heartbroken Willa is desperate to leave New York that she joins a group trip for Jewish twenty-somethings to visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, hoping to override her emotional state. When it proves to be more fraught than home, she must come to terms with her past-the ancestral past, her romantic past and the past that can lead her forward.
Told from alternating perspectives and ending in the shadow of Trump's presidency, WILLA & HESPER is a deeply moving, cerebral and timely debut.